On Wednesday, the Amendment 64 Task Force’s recommendations for how Colorado’s legal marijuana program should be regulated were released. These proposed regulations are simply suggestions to lawmakers who will have the final say.
“This was ground-breaking work and the Task Force process went very well,” task force co-chair Barbara Brohl said. “It was supported by many committed and astute individuals who took the Governor’s charge very seriously. Task force members represented differing viewpoints, they addressed all issues in a well-thought-out manner and worked hard to develop sound solutions. The Task Force did all the ‘heavy lifting’ but now a lot of follow up work has to be done in the coming months.”
The report contains 58 recommendations and is 165 pages long. Task Force co-chair Jack Finlaw, the Governor’s chief legal counsel, calls the report “very comprehensive” and believes it lays the ground work for the regulations of a successful legal marijuana program.
Some of the issues tackled in the report were taxation of marijuana, licensing, distribution, and public smoking.
The report recommends placing a “Marijuana Product Sales Tax” initiative on the November ballot, but left the actual rate of the tax up to the legislators. Some on the task force recommended a 25% tax on marijuana sales, but others believe that high cost would deter some from buying the drug legally and perpetuate the black market.
The task force suggests a $5,000 application fee for those wishing to sell, grow, or distribute marijuana. However, they acknowledge that that cap should potentially be raised to reflect the actual cost of reviewing applications.
The report says that smoking marijuana in bars should be illegal, given the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act. The report also argues that smoking marijuana outdoors in public places where tobacco smoking is permitted should not be allowed.
Similarly to how alcohol is regulated, the task force recommends that it be illegal to have an open package of marijuana in a vehicle.
These regulations will be used as guidelines for lawmakers, including Governor John Hickenlooper, in establishing Colorado’s legal marijuana system. Some aspects of the program, such as taxation, may require additional legislation.
The entire report can be read here.